Subject: LUSA: Vieira de Mello Praises Conduct During Assembly Elections

03 Sep 01 13:23 East Timor: Vieira de Mello Praises Conduct During Assembly Elections

The head of East Timor's UN Transition Administration (UNTAET) congratulated Monday the people of the territory for their "dedication, enthusiasm and dignity" during last week's elections.

In a message broadcast on Radio UNTAET, Sergio Vieira de Mello emphasized the high turnout, 91 percent, and urged the East Timorese to "be patient" during the vote counting process.

"More than 200 national and international observers witnessed your vote and continue to observe the process to assure its integrity", the Brazilian UN diplomat said.

"They are confident that the process was appropriately conducted and I share that opinion. The final results will correctly reflect the important choices you made", he added.

Vieira de Mello made his comments on the same day that the Independent Electoral Commission released the first provisional results, which showed that with 10 percent of the vote counted, the historic pro-independence party Fretilin was ahead with 43 percent, based on the count from two of the territory's 13 districts.

East Timorese voters went to the polls last Thursday to elect the 88 members of a Cons[t]ituent Assembly that will draw up the national constitution before independence next year. Of the total, 75 seats are awarded on a nationwide proportional basis, with the remainder elected by each of the territory's 13 districts.

Provisional results from most outstanding districts should be released by Wednesday. The final certified result will be announced in a formal ceremony on September 10.

JBC -Lusa-

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